Being a new mom can be stressful which leads some women to look for different ways to relax.
While many women may frown upon smoking cigarettes or drinking while breastfeeding, they may think that smoking hookah while breastfeeding is a safer alternative.
But, this may not be the best idea either. As we know, a pregnant or breastfeeding woman always needs to remember that whatever substances enter her body can also pass to her baby.
This is why you want to know what you’re going into before putting anything into your body. We’re going to take a closer look at what hookah is and some possible side effects if you smoke hookah while breastfeeding.
In this article
What is Hookah?
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Hookah smoking is known to calm people down and help them relax. Its initial use dates back centuries in India and ancient Persia. But, over the years, hookah smoking has become increasingly popular in the United States and Europe.
Hookah is a water pipe that comes with a smoke chamber, bowl, pipe, and hose. The term hookah refers to the pipe itself, not what’s inside of it.
The pipe is used to smoke tobacco that has been heated on coals or charcoal.
The tobacco may have added flavors like chocolate or apple.
When someone uses the pipe, the tobacco smoke passes through the water and is drawn through a rubber hose to a mouthpiece.
Is smoking hookah safer than smoking cigarettes?
Some women may think smoking hookah is safer than smoking regular cigarettes, but that may not be true. The tobacco used in a hookah pipe isn’t any better for you than the tobacco in a cigarette.
In just one hookah smoking session, users can inhale more tobacco smoke than someone using a cigarette.
There is research to suggest that an hour-long hookah session can involve anywhere between 100 to 200 puffs while a typical cigarette takes about 8-10 puffs.
This exposes the user to more smoke and harmful chemicals. According to “Kids Live Smoke-Free” smoking one hookah for one hour is the same as smoking a pack of cigarettes.
Hookah can also leave you feeling dizzy, relaxed, or lightheaded. It can also become addictive, just like cigarettes.
The nicotine that is found in tobacco will be absorbed into the blood which in time can confuse your brain. This will leave you feeling anxious, and maybe even sick if you don’t smoke.
“Kids Live Smoke-Free” reports that hookah smokers are also exposed to more carbon monoxide and smoke than cigarette smokers. Hookah smoking is also linked to oral and lung cancers, as well as heart disease.
According to the American Lung Association, hookah smoke contains at least 82 toxic chemicals and carcinogens.
You also have to take into account how hygienic the pipe is itself. If it’s not thoroughly cleaned, you can get an infection and possibly pass that to your baby.
What are the risks and side effects of smoking hookah while breastfeeding?
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Women who decide to smoke hookah while breastfeeding are setting themselves up for some pretty serious side effects.
The taste and makeup of a woman’s breastmilk depend on what they eat and drink. So, if you’re smoking hookah, you can expect your breastmilk to be affected.
When a breastfeeding mother smokes a hookah, carcinogens, nicotine, smoke residue, and other harmful chemicals enter the bloodstream.
Smoke from the hookah can destroy the nutritious vitamins that are found in breastmilk. It can also reduce the amount of milk a woman produces.
Besides poor quality milk and reduced output, babies can also develop allergies and asthma. If a baby has breastmilk from a mom who is smoking hookah, they may also begin feeling anxious and not sleep as well.
They can develop a poor appetite because they may not like the milk they are getting due to its taste and composition. Other side effects for the baby include feeling tired and having stomach irritations.
It’s also important to note that it takes anywhere from 1-3 days for nicotine to leave your body after you stop smoking tobacco. So even if you smoke hookah once, it will remain in your body when you breastfeed.
Are there alternatives to smoking hookah while breastfeeding?
While a breastfeeding mom may want to smoke hookah to relieve her stress, the stress that is being put on the baby is undeniable.
This is why it’s good to look for other ways to relieve stress that don’t involve putting substances into your body and passing them onto your baby.
Relaxing activities can include:
- Taking a walk
- Doing yoga
- Reading a book
- Taking a warm bath
These are all activities that have positive effects for any new mom without harming the baby.
The Bottom Line
While a breastfeeding mom may be looking for a way to relax from all of the stress that comes with being a new parent, smoking hookah may not be the best choice. The effects on both mom and baby can be damaging and long-lasting.
Rather than put harmful substances into your body, there are other ways to relax. Finding positive activities that promote health and wellness are the best route to take for yourself and your baby while breastfeeding.